As I write this, I am about 10 hours post return to South Florida after a holiday visit with my family in North Carolina. Though exhausted from the 17 hour drive, I am thankful for the time spent with family and friends. I am appreciative for the down time which allowed me to regain perspective on my beloved but hectic life and career. There is something about being outside and beyond my normal routine which is calming both professionally and personally while being something more often than not missing in my day to day life.
North Carolina is now my de-facto family home despite being born and raised in Georgia, since my mother resides there for 8 to 10 months of the year. Though I am licensed professionally in several other states, North Carolina is not one of them. This is by intent.
Just a couple of years ago, I made arrangements to become licensed there, but opted not to do so literally at the last moment, walking out of the licensure examination just as it started.
I gave into my better decision because it was just someplace I really didn’t want to live and my fear it would have resulted in my being trapped there professionally, something which happens very easily when one is in their 50’s. That decision allows me to be just another one of the guys when I am there visiting.
A degree of comfort and anonymity I often miss and long for here at home. It affords an opportunity to be a metaphorical Clark Kent, and not that other guy people look towards as having all the abilities and answers they seek in their time of need. Sometimes being seen as a mild mannered whatever people think I am is nice and is a comfort to be thought of as an equal. Anonymity is nice, but the greatest equalizer of them all is family.
Despite my accomplishments, or lack thereof, nothing grounds and confirms my place in this world like my family. Though often seen as an accomplished individual by the general public, in my family I am just a veterinarian. My accomplishments are relative amongst siblings who are a physician, middle school counselor, minister, West Point graduate, and US Army colonel, not to mention encouraging parents who were educators.
I am defined by my family in many other ways: the 5th of 6th children, the little brother of 4 and big brother of one, and lovingly referred to as the “knee baby,” due to having been displaced by my younger brother after being the baby of the family for 5 and a half years. An experience I jokingly refer to as my first hostile take-over.
Despite all the definitions and kidding that goes along with it, I know they love me and I them; they have my back and I theirs’s. If I had a dime for every time I am called “knee baby boy” or “P’ (They never use my given name of Pierre unless I am in big trouble.), I would have few to no financial concerns. I am often reminded they consider me the smartest of the bunch despite the many bone headed situations they have helped me overcome through the years. Go figure.
My family is the one constant which grounds me in this crazy world. By family, I don’t just mean biological but also my family of choice (I mean you Teauges and Dr. Mills.). Though we all experience the assurance and consternations of their actions, along with the pleasures and pains of mortal additions and subtractions, they define and sustain as nothing else in my life. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Dr. Pierre B. Bland is a small animal practitioner who offers office and house call appointments to his clients. His offices are located at 3225 N. Andrews Avenue, Ft. Lauderdale, FL and can be reached at 954 673-8579.